In a sign of the shift in financial marketplaces toward digital platforms, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. shuttered its physical office space this week, intending to turn some of the area into a museum for future generations to see how the exchange functioned in its glory days.

The move away from physical infrastructure has been long-coming, with the number of traders on the actual floor declining yearly to less than 200, from a high of over 900. As digital trading has become increasingly ubiquitous for markets around the world, the physical trading floor has become something of a dinosaur, with most traders enjoying the flexibility of digital freedom.

Sign of the times

The fact that physical trading floors have become essentially meaningless is a sign of the times, as the move away from traditional financial platforms toward new forms of digital currency transactions. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, however, is being seen as the next wave of change for finance.

Because cryptocurrencies combine the flexibility of digital financing systems with the security of hand to hand transactions, they represent the next stage in payment and agreement platforms.